The Beatles Pushed Back Against Disney Removing Swearing from Documentary

by Liz Holland
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Totaling almost 8 hours, The Beatles three-part “Get Back” docu-series is now available to stream. Much of the world had the opportunity to watch the series over the Thanksgiving holiday, streaming on Disney+ services. However, the docu-series almost didn’t make it to the service in its original form.

Paul McCartney of the Beatles Says the Series Is ‘Raw’

The “Get Back” documentary depicts the arguments the rock icons went through while recording their album, “Let it Be”. Amongst the realities shown in the 60 hours of previously unseen footage used to construct the film is swearing, smoking, and other adult themes. It’s important to note that Disney is notorious for not allowing anything not family-friendly air on their network. However, it was important to the project’s creators that the piece be authentic to who The Beatles were back then. Peter Jackson, creator of the series, shares in a recent interview with The Decider that, “I’ve made a film that I think is pretty honest and pretty raw”. 

Jackson goes on to share that Paul McCartney of The Beatles felt similarly of Jackson’s project. “Paul [McCartney] describes it as being very raw. He said to me: ‘That is a very accurate portrayal of how we were then,” Jackson says.

Disney’s Smoking Ban Is Serious

When streaming The Beatles’ new documentary on Disney Plus, viewers are met with a disclaimer message at the start of each of the 3 episodes. The message reads, “this footage contains explicit language, mature themes, and smoking.” Disney officially banned smoking from being depicted in any future films or TV shows in 2015. This ban also extends to Marvel and Pixar films, with exceptions few and far between. 

With this rule, it comes as no surprise that according to Jackson, it was a fight to keep adult themes in the documentary. However, it was important to those involved that the project be released to the public in its original form. In an interview with NME, Jackson shares that although he expected the band to give notes on the explicit conversations shown in the film, he was met with quite the opposite. “When they got to see the finished thing, I was expecting notes. It would’ve just been normal to get a note saying: ‘Oh, that bit where I say that – could you cut that out?’ Or ‘could you shorten the conversation there?’ And I didn’t get a single note. Not one request to do anything,” Jackson shares.

Honesty Is the Best Policy

The authenticity of the docu-series is truly what makes The Beatles’ newest film special. Jackson goes on to explain how important the truthfulness of the piece was to the band. “…Ringo [Starr] said: ‘It’s truthful.’ The truthfulness of it is important to them. They don’t want a whitewash. They don’t want it to be sanitized. Disney wanted to remove all the swearing and Ringo, Paul, and Olivia [Harrison] said: ‘That’s how we spoke. That’s how we talked. That’s how we want the world to see us.”

You can stream The Beatles’ new 3 part docu-series “Get Back” on Disney+.

Outsider.com